21 Top Things To Do with Preschoolers in Philly

 Kids and parents will love the  fresh ingredients and delicious flavors in the ice pops and pies and pies at Lil' Pop Shop..Photo courtesy of the shop
Kids and parents will love the fresh ingredients and delicious flavors in the ice pops and pies and pies at Lil' Pop Shop..Photo courtesy of the shop
8/13/23 - By Hillary Moses Mohaupt

Looking for the best things to do with preschoolers in Philly? We've rounded up the top picks for keeping the under 5 crowd entertained!

The struggle is real—when your kids are little it can be hard to keep them occupied long enough to even plan the next activity. But there are so many things to do with preschoolers in Philadelphia! These are some of the best years, so get out there and have some fun together.

Looking for more fun for your preschooler? Ou guide to the Best Classes for Preschoolers and Toddlers in Philadelphia is perfect for you. If you're on a budget, there are plenty of Free Indoor Play Spaces for Philly Kids, too!


Franklin Square playground.
Swing, sway, climb, crawl, twist and twirl at the award-winning Franklin Square playground. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s open year-round. Photo courtesy of Historic Philadelphia

Best Things to Do Outside with Preschoolers in Philadelphia

1. Visit one of Philadelphia's amazing playground's for toddlers

The Philadelphia area is home to hundreds of parks and playgrounds, from local neighborhood parks maintained by Philadelphia Parks and Rec, to splash pads and tree houses. We especially love Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, a beloved free playground in Fairmount Park that features an enormous playhouse that was renovated in 2022, and Kids Castle in Doylestown, an eight-story wooden castle playground that includes a modern toddler playground on-site, as well as bathrooms, and plenty of park space to run around. 

Explore the beautiful trails and gardens at Bartram's Garden. Photo courtesy of the garden

2. Explore nature in Philadelphia

Whether your little one is a budding gardener or a new naturalist, Philadelphia has something for everyone, big and small, to learn about science and nature. Check out Bartram’s Garden in southwest Philadelphia for short and long trails and a community garden for little ones to explore. Or the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in northwest Philadelphia to get your hands dirty.

3. Visit Sesame Place

Sesame Street may be in New York, but the Sesame Place theme park in Bucks County is the perfect place for toddlers to experience their first family-friendly rides and water slides.

4. Spend the day in Franklin Square.

This park has everything: a carousel, mini golf, and extensive playground, all contained in one city block. Plus there are rotating special events throughout the year, which makes it easy to return again and again. 

5. Go to the zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo is jam-packed with enough animals to please pint-sized animal lovers, but the park isn't too big to explore in one afternoon. The express train ride and the carousel are great add-ons for little ones, Philadelphia is home to the first zoo in the United States, but the region also boasts Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, Cape May Zoo in Cape May, NJ, and the tiny but mighty Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, DE. 

Linvilla Orchards
Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards is always a local favorite. Photo courtesy of the orchard

6. Visit an orchard or a pumpkin patch

Philadelphia is home to fantastic pick-your-own orchards and patches so it's easy to the perfect seasonal destination for your little one. Find a place near you to go apple picking, pick out the perfect pumpkin, or pick your own favorite fruit or flower depending on the season. ​​ 

7. Take a boat ride 

Whether your family loves canoes, kayaks, or pedal boats, there are a lot of great places in the Philadelphia area to rent a boat for a short-term expedition to explore the city and its parks. Just be sure to pack a life jacket or make sure you can rent one from the boat rental, and check for age restrictions before you go.

The Easter Bunny rides the rails with you on the Black River & Western Railroad's Easter Bunny Express. Photo courtesy of the railroad

Best Things to Do Inside with Preschoolers in Philadelphia

8. Take a train ride

Many preschoolers and toddlers are fascinated by trains, which is why it’s great that there are so many opportunities to ride a train in the Philadelphia area throughout the year for train rides with the Easter Bunny or Halloween trains rides. But don’t underestimate the fun-value in hopping on a SEPTA train or trolley to get to one of the other activities listed here!

9. Visit the library

The Free Library of Philadelphia was the first library system in the country, and it's still one of the best!  Find a location near you and and check out weekly or one-time programs like read-alongs or music events that are made just for toddlers.  

10. Learn French

Philadelphia is a cosmopolitan city, with language opportunities to match! The Alliance Francaise in Center City offers French classes online or in person starting at 3 years old.

11. Get a popsicle at Lil Pop Shop

Lil Pop Shop is a West Philly family favorite and it's easy to see why: these homemade frozen treats are delightful and delicious, plus easy for small hands. And if popsicles aren't your kid's thing, there are lots of local ice cream shops in Philadelphia that will help satisfy even the pickiest toddler requests. 

12. Watch money being made

Many toddlers love to see machines in action. Visit the US Mint in Old City to see how US currency is made, right here in Philadelphia!

RELATED: Take a factory tour to see how some of your favorite snacks or crayons are made!

13. Check out an indoor play space

On rainy or cold days you might look for indoor places for your toddler to play in Philadelphia. Luckily, there are dozens of indoor playgrounds in Philadelphia to choose from, like PlayArts in FishtownWe Rock the Spectrum in Northeast Philadelphia, and Beehive at Bok in East Passyunk.

Make time for a story at the Please Touch Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum

Best Museums to Visit with Preschoolers in Philadelphia

14. Have some hands-on fun at the Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch Museum is the ultimate toddler-friendly destination in Philadelphia, with lots of hands-on activities across two floors for kids to play. Permanent exhibits helps toddlers and older kids explore money, fairy tales, camping, and much more.

15. Celebrate firefighters at Fireman's Hall Museum 

Fireman's Hall Museum is a must-visit for any kid who gets excited by fire engines and other trucks. Admission is free, and kids can dress up in firefighting boots and coats, steer a fire boat, and try out other interactive activities. 

16. Explore helicopters at American Helicopter Museum & Education Center 

The American Helicopter Museum in West Chester is one of the largest helicopter collections in the world and the only place in the area where kids who love planes and other vehicles can get up close to these flying machines.

17. Climb aboard Battleship New Jersey

America’s most decorated battleship, now sits in Camden’s waterfront. You and your boat-obsessed child can follow either a guided tour or a self-guided tour, but note that the ship isn’t accessible for strollers.

18. Learn about Philadelphia's water systems at Independence Seaport Museum

Philadelphia sits between the Delaware and Schuylkill River and the Independence Seaport Museum is the perfect place where even the littlest kids can learn about the water we drink.

19. Embrace curiosity and imagination at the Bucks County Children’s Museum 

Featuring STEAM exhibits, a giant Operation table, a mini super market, and more, Bucks County Children's Museum is the perfect place for toddlers to explore and have fun. Walk-in admission is not guaranteed, so book your tickets in advance.

20. Learn something new at Delaware Children’s Museum

Little ones can learn about the environment, trains, building, and more at the Delaware Children's Museum. Kids will love running around the expansive museum, making art, and splashing in the water table.

21. See the fish at Adventure Aquarium

There's no doubt about it, the Adventure Aquarium is a must-do in the Philly area. Take a quick drive across the bridge with your little one to see sting rays, sharks, penguins, and more at this local staple.

Places featured in this article: